Herald Journal Columns
Nov. 15, 2004 Herald Journal

Those emergency room visits


As parents, we’ve all had our trips to the emergency room with our children, whether it be for ear infections, a sore throat, or maybe even a broken bone, and it seems that the illness or incident waits to occur until the middle of the night.

We had our trip (one of many) to the emergency room last week. Our four-year-old daughter woke up during the night coughing harshly. She’s had problems with croup ever since she’s been an infant, and it seems to come on “just like that.”

She was coughing with the “croupy” cough that sounds so nasty, but she was also wheezing and having difficulty breathing. We took her outside in the cool air to help her breathe more easily as we so often did with her as an infant, and most of the time that helped immensely. This time, it didn’t. She was scared and was stating she couldn’t breathe.

“Mommy, Daddy, help me.” She even asked to go to the doctor.

Then, we knew it was time to make that trip to the emergency room, as children don’t usually request a doctor’s visit.

We bundled her up, and my husband took her. It was very late and our other two children were sleeping, so I stayed home with them. These are the times that I really appreciate cell phones. My husband and our little girl drove off to the emergency room, and of course, I called him on the cell phone two or three times to inquire how she was doing.

If you had to go to the emergency room, it was a good night to be there, as it was pretty empty when they arrived. The emergency room staff had them skip the registration process and immediately took her and treated her with a nebulizer, checked her oxygen levels, and observed her breathing for a couple hours. Of course, the chest x-rays, etc. to check for pneumonia or other illnesses followed.

She felt much better after the nebulizer treatment. She was also given a steroid medication to relax her muscles and to help keep the airway open. Needless to say, the medication was a stimulant so she and my husband read many books together (quality time in the ER room at 1 a.m.).

At 2 a.m., she and my husband got home with a balloon in her hand and a prescription for the same stimulant medication in his hand for her to take the next two days. Needless to say, “no rest for the weary” (that’s all of us). However, she felt much better and even declared, “I feel much better now, mom.”

The things we parents go through.

The worst part of the situation for her was that she had to miss preschool the next day and she loves school. She was pretty disappointed.

So it is, that at these times, we really realize how much we love our children and don’t think that we could love them anymore than we do, but our hearts “poureth over.” We don’t want them to hurt, but it’s inevitable that there will be “emergency room” visits. We want to protect them and keep them safe.

Children are so dependent on us, and this dependency makes us love them even more. They rely on us for unconditional love, support, comfort, and safety. We must, many times, put our needs aside to meet their needs because they can’t do it themselves. We realize that being a parent is the most important job in the world!

Despite the hard work, late and many sleepless nights caring for our children, we wouldn’t give up our role as parents for anything. We love our children deeply and unconditionally. It’s at those moments when they say, “I’m OK now, mommy and daddy,” that our hearts melt.

Dr. Phil says, in his book, “Family First,” that our role as a parent is the highest, noblest calling we’ll ever have in our lives. Furthermore, he says the critical factor in this role, but certainly not the only factor, is “an unconditional and heartfelt love and devotion for our children.”

Displaying children’s masterpieces

Now that school is well on its way, your child has most likely created many cherished works of art, and there isn’t a refrigerator in the world big enough to display it all. Here are some ways to show off those masterpieces:

• You and your children can use a three-hole punch, so that their work can be displayed in large three-ring binders. Each child can decorate and personalize his/her binder and have a ready-made show-and-tell.

• Display artwork in a picture frame and change pictures routinely. It’s a neat way to show off artwork, and fashionable too, I might add.

• Various crafters are making personalized ways to display children’s artwork. Here’s a neat idea that your child could even help with: take a piece of board and paint it the colors of your child’s choice. Using screws or strong bonding glue, attach a few clothespins a few inches apart on the board, and personalize with your child’s name and decorations. You have a neat way to display children’s artwork that can be rotated as your children create many endless masterpieces.

• A child’s idea: My five year-old friend, Kaylee, draws a picture for her dad when he is gone on a work/business trip and puts it under his pillow, so when he gets home, he has a wonderful surprise waiting for him under his pillow. It helps her feel comforted, too, when her daddy is gone. What a great idea!

Have a wonderful week, and I wish for you no emergency room visits (for this week anyway)!